Utah became our 45th state on January 4, 1896, it is the 13th-largest and the 33rd-most populous, with nearly 3-million residents. Salt Lake City is the capital of Utah and home to Temple Square which serves as the headquarters of the Mormon Church. The city was originally named "Great Salt Lake City" due to its proximity to the Great Salt Lake. Brigham Young and the first band of Mormon pioneers moved to the area in 1847.
Utah means “people of the mountains.” Aptly so as Utah’s mountain peaks are the tallest in the country, on average. Utah’s Beehive State nickname isn’t a literal reference, it is symbolic, representing industry, hard work and perseverance, traits favored by its predominant Mormon population.
Utah is known for its natural diversity ranging from arid deserts with sand dunes to thriving pine forests in mountain valley. Much of this diversity is manifested in the seven national monuments to be found in Utah: Cedar Breaks, Natural Bridges, Dinosaur, Rainbow Bridge, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Timpanogos Cave and Hovenweep.
America’s first Transcontinental Railroad was completed at Promontory Summit north of the Great Salt Lake on May 10, 1869. This began a great migration to Utah which in many way has never stopped. Today Utah is a hub of transportation, commerce, electronics, computer programming and tourism. It is also a great place for winter sports because the state’s inland location gives Utah its dryness, and has earned it the reputation for having the best “powder” in the world and making it a popular ski spot, with 14 Alpine resorts in operation.
Utah has a rich TV and film history. Philo Farnsworth, the inventor of TV was born in Beaver, Utah as was Butch Cassidy, the notorious western outlaw (a popular film and TV subject). Kanab, Utah is known as Little Hollywood due to its popularity as a filming area for motion pictures. Not surprising given its prime location close to multiple national parks, forests and monuments. And the Heber Valley Railroad’s steam engine and passenger train have been featured in more than 30 films.
About Sales Taxes and this series:
Thanks to Avalara, the 'tax people', this article is one in a 50 part series covering sales tax issues associated with each and every state tax jurisdiction in the United States. We’re publishing "Sales Tax Tuesday" every week through 2015.
Sales tax provides critical revenue for states. Other than property and income tax, sales tax is the largest source of tax revenue in the majority of the 46 states that collect it. From a government perspective, making sure every sales tax dollar is collected, through audits, fines, penalties rates and rules, is an exercise for income. It’s easy to be lured into a false sense of compliance when it comes to sales tax, this series is intended to insure that you are aware of the key sales tax facts for YOUR state.
Note: For sales tax definitions and essentials check out the opening article to this series.
Sales Tax Facts1:
- Utah’s state sales tax rate is 4.7%. With the addition of county and local taxes, the total combined sales tax rate can be as high as 7.95%. All 29 counties levy the maximum 1% sales tax.
- State sales and use tax make up 26% of Utah’s overall state and local taxes, making it the second largest source of tax revenue for the state. Local sale and use tax makes up 6% of all state tax revenue.
- The Utah State Tax Commission administers the state's sales and use tax registration, permitting and collections.
- Utah is a member of Streamlined Sales Tax (SST) and allows online filing and electronic payment of sales and use tax.
- Utah is one of the few states that taxes food (groceries), albeit at a lower rate (3%).
- Utah allows local jurisdictions to collect up to 1% tax for transit, hospital, arts and attractions (such as zoos), roads, resorts, tourism and other town and county options.
- Many services are taxable for example, charges for labor to repair, renovate or clean tangible personal property are taxable
- Utah is one of only 11 origin sourcing states. This means that sales tax is based on the location of the seller, not the buyer.
Did you know?
- No six-packs or beer bellies. Individuals may not possess beer in containers larger than two liters unless they are a retailer. And beverages must be sold in quantities of 3 containers or less.
- Stripped of your earnings. Referred to as the “sex tax,” patrons who frequent Utah businesses that employ nude or partially nude individuals pay an additional 10% tax on admission, services and any food/drinks served or consumed on the premises.
Manual sales and use tax management is prone to error and consumes staff time in pass-through rather than revenue-generating activities. No matter how many cities, counties or sales tax jurisdictions you collect and remit tax for, nor how many oddities (like the number of beers in a 'pack'), Avalara provides solutions for sales tax automation, including tax calculation, exemption certificate management, returns processing and 1099 filing and reporting.
Automation of business sales tax, including integration with QuickBooks via Avalara allows businesses to be fully sales tax compliant without sacrificing productivity and without the worry of trying to figure out which 'shades of white' linens require an extra tax.
1 - State by State Sales Tax - North Carolina, Avalara - June 18, 2015